This is not a country for the old or the young. Opportunity and abundance: poorly made promises that break before they come clattering off conveyor belts, that rot before they can be loaded into baskets. The young are names inside foil hearts tacked on a schoolroom wall, outlines on the floor where they crouched and bent their heads to the linoleum heart of this country. Don't say apple or flag or Thanks- giving. This country is becoming the loneliest country in the world. It is the smell of floors bleached after a rain of blood, the blind heat of hatred strung like lights in dance halls, incandescent as bullets boiled in a crucible of darkness. Just like in Stockton and Watsonville, the old washed the dirt of farms from their hands, put on their finest threads. If this was their only defiance, let it have been the moon they skated on, the pulse of a little joy that throbbed in their temples before the end.
Poet Luisa A. Igloria (website) is Co-Winner of the 2019 Crab Orchard Open Competition in Poetry for Maps for Migrants and Ghosts (Southern Illinois University Press, September 2020). She was appointed Poet Laureate of the Commonwealth of Virginia for 2020-22, and in 2021 received 1 of 23 Poet Laureate Fellowships from the Academy of American Poets and the Mellon Foundation. She is the winner of the 2015 Resurgence Prize (UK), the world’s first major award for ecopoetry, selected by former UK poet laureate Sir Andrew Motion, Alice Oswald, and Jo Shapcott. She is the author of What is Left of Wings, I Ask (2018 Center for the Book Arts Letterpress Chapbook Prize, selected by former US Poet Laureate Natasha Trethewey); Bright as Mirrors Left in the Grass (Kudzu House Press eChapbook selection for Spring 2015), Ode to the Heart Smaller than a Pencil Eraser (Utah State University Press, 2014 May Swenson Prize), Night Willow (Phoenicia Publishing, 2014), The Saints of Streets (University of Santo Tomas Publishing House, 2013), Juan Luna’s Revolver (2009 Ernest Sandeen Prize, University of Notre Dame Press), and nine other books. She is a member of the core faculty of the MFA Creative Writing Program at Old Dominion University which she directed from 2009-2015; she also teaches classes at The Muse Writers’ Center in Norfolk. In 2018, she was the inaugural Glasgow Distinguished Writer in Residence at Washington and Lee University. When she isn’t writing, reading, or teaching, she cooks with her family, knits, hand-binds books, and listens to tango music.